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Working at Williams

Engineering a future for future engineers

Susan Simpson

As part of a leadership program with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), employee Chris Dawson is promoting careers in our industry to young engineers and touting the benefits of volunteering for a professional society.

Dawson, a systems planning engineer, works out of our Pittsburgh office and joined Williams’ GIS team in 2012 after graduating with a degree in geography from the University of Oklahoma. With help from Williams’ tuition reimbursement program, she later got her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University and transitioned to Williams’ engineer development program. This allowed her to work in four different areas and roles within the company.

Last year, she was admitted into ASME’s ECLIPSE program, a year-long program that was centered around in-person conferences until COVID hit. The leadership program pivoted to online training and projects. As an ECLIPSE intern assigned to support ASME’s Petroleum Division, Dawson developed a virtual webinar for college students and early career engineers. 

“We wanted to spotlight the energy industry and find out what they valued most as they were looking forward in their careers,” she said. “We talked about how networking is 100% digital these days and how they can leverage resources like ASME to find opportunities to develop their careers.”
 
Dawson is also part of a group project aimed at getting more young engineers involved with ASME as volunteers. Williams benefits as well, she said, because networking with employees from other companies allows the sharing of best practices and industry knowledge.

Clare Bruff, Senior Manager of Volunteer Leadership Development & Diversity for ASME, said the ECLIPSE program is a way to help early career engineers with leadership skills and connect them with other ASME professionals.

Dawson said her experience with the ECLIPSE program has been a great way to follow up Williams’ engineer development program that allowed her to rotate to various roles in Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

As a system planner, she performs operational gas volume forecasting and hydraulic modeling for our Marcellus South and Laurel Mountain Midstream gas gathering systems. “I am forecasting how much volume will be on our system and running hydraulic analyses so that we can safely handle that volume,” she said.

She said her career has benefitted from the opportunity to take on new challenges with the support of Williams.

“While working as a GIS Analyst, I supported engineers in different capacities: project managers, project engineers, project developers and commercial reps. That interaction exposed me to what all an engineer can do. Eventually my curiosity for what an engineer does developed into envisioning myself performing those same roles.”